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2011 Volkswagen Jetta

Overview
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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.6

In many respects, the all-new 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is a lesser car than its predecessor. The standard engine is far less powerful, the rear suspension is less sophisticated and the interior is no longer over-the-top refined. But it is roomier and more affordable, and that's just what Volkswagen thinks America wants. Yes, some of the Jetta's more discriminating devotees will be disappointed, but the new model will attract far more buyers than it loses. And even with the cost-cutting, the Jetta is still fun to drive and still has one of the category's finest interiors. Last three words: Outsider moving in.

You'll Like This Car If...

Interior quality, driving dynamics and individuality are still Jetta strong suits. Now that prices are down and roominess is up, Volkswagen's perennial best-seller can even appeal to your practical side.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta's 115-horsepower base engine is the weakest in the category, and the lower prices still don't qualify the Jetta as a value leader (but its historically strong resale values don't hurt). Tech-savvy buyers wouldn't be wrong to expect more from the Jetta.

What's New for 2011

The 2011 VW Jetta is an all-new car with an all-new look, but the key changes can be summed up in two words: bigger and cheaper.

Driving the Jetta

Driving Impressions Not everyone who buys a Jetta does so for things like steering feedback and roadholding ability, but European driving feel – for less than $20,000 – has been one of...

the Jetta's greatest strengths for decades. Thankfully, given the simplified suspension and added length, it still is. The familiar 2.5-liter engine is punchy if short-winded, and the five-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions are just fine. Highway ride is firm within reason, and highway noise is on the quieter side of the category spectrum. We're eager to drive a Jetta with the smaller, 115-horsepower engine and smaller wheels - not because we think we'll love it, but to find out just how severe the penalty is.
Favorite Features

Diesel Power
We haven't yet driven the 2011 Jetta TDI, but we're such big fans of Volkswagen's popular diesel engine that it's already one of our favorite Jetta features.

Cargo Room
The Jetta's newfound rear-seat roominess is welcome and useful, but the deep, massive trunk is a sight to behold.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Details
Interior

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta interior in a nutshell: more room, cheaper materials. Rear legroom, which was tight in the outgoing model, is up 2.7 inches and now best-in-class. But in areas where you'd find premium-like, soft-touch materials in the outgoing Jetta, the sixth-generation model features hard plastic. Moving up the trim ladder does buy a little more flair, and it's still among the nicest interiors in the class, but we wouldn't call it a $30,000 interior like we did the last Jetta's (and the current Golf's). The Jetta's huge trunk is also worth noting, as is the unremarkable sound system. Volkswagen's decision to put the USB port in the glove compartment could madden some whose phone and portable music player are one and the same.

Exterior
2011 Volkswagen Jetta photo

The biggest Jetta ever measures about three inches longer than its predecessor. Some were hoping for more expressive sheetmetal, but we think it's a tasteful design that will stand the test of time. Exterior differentiators throughout the lineup range from small, 15-inch covered steel wheels on the base-model Jetta S, to mirror-integrated turn signals, front fog lamps, chrome accents and 17-inch alloy wheels on the Jetta GLS.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta S starts under $17,000, but with a weaker engine than its competitors and a pedestrian list of standard equipment. Highlights include air conditioning, power locks/windows/mirrors (with one-click up/down on all four windows) and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD sound system with auxiliary audio input. A full complement of standard safety features includes electronic stability control and six airbags.

Optional Equipment

A loaded 2011 Volkswagen Jetta GLS features a 2.5-liter 170-horsepower engine, six-speed automatic transmission, leatherette seats, USB audio input, Bluetooth phone connectivity, cruise control, heated seats, touchscreen navigation/audio with six speakers and SD memory card slot, Sirius satellite radio, moonroof, rear disc brakes, and keyless entry and start. The SEL trim also offers a Sport package with a lowered sport suspension, sport-bolstered seats, aluminum pedals and unique door sills.

Under the Hood

The 2011 VW Jetta powertrain lineup will quickly grow to include four engines and four transmissions. The bread-and-butter combo is the 170-horsepower five-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The sport-tuned Jetta GLI will match Volkswagen's renowned 2.0-liter turbo engine with its quick-shifting and efficient six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (or a six-speed manual). The Jetta TDI will offer the same transmissions as the GLI, but mated to VW's also-celebrated turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine. At the other end of the spectrum, the base model 2011 Volkswagen Jetta S will be saddled with a 2.0-liter, 115-horsepower four-cylinder engine that, when matched to the auto transmission, has to strain for 11 seconds before pulling the car to 60 mph. A couple years down the road, we'll get a hybrid Jetta.

2.0-liter four-cylinder
115 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
125 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 (manual), 23/32 (auto)

2.5-liter five-cylinder
170 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
177 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/33 (manual), 24/31 (auto)

2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (GLI only)
200 horsepower @ 5100-6000 rpm
207 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1700-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: TBD

2.0-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder
140 horsepower @ 4000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1750-2500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/42 (manual), 30/42 (auto)

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 196 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Excellent car for the value. Fuel economy good

By on Sunday, April 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "like the 6 speed manual"

Cons: "interior a little small"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Owned the car for three years, very pleased. No mechanical issues the car has preformed well. I'm averaging about 45 mpg on trips. I plan to drive for many years to come."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Best Car Ever!

By on Monday, April 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 700

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Sporty, Comfortable, Great MPG"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is Wonderfully Amazing... I got 41 MPG coming home. Seats are amazing and extremely comfortable and the handling of the car is stunning and provides inspiration. Have you closed the door? Well it sounds just like all other high quality cars. Close the doors on a Benz 350 ( My family has one) and the doors sound the same. No problems so far yet engine wise, though it is extremely powerful considering the class of car (Compact. I will buy another Volkswagen!"

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Best Car Ever!

By on Monday, April 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 700

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Sporty, Comfortable, Great MPG"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is Wonderfully Amazing... I got 41 MPG coming home. Seats are amazing and extremely comfortable and the handling of the car is stunning and provides inspiration. Have you closed the door? Well it sounds just like all other high quality cars. Close the doors on a Benz 350 ( My family has one) and the doors sound the same. No problems so far yet engine wise, though it is extremely powerful considering the class of car (Compact. I will buy another Volkswagen!"

A beautiful car!/ very good mileage/Warm & cozy!!

By on Saturday, April 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Beautiful car! ...see review"

Cons: "no back seat warmers"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I'm thrilled with it! I do have to say it has not met the quoted gas mileage, at least not for us, however we are in remote area, mountainess,& so we cannot follow all the perfect conditions to get the maximum mileage. We are averaging 39 mpg. Despite the real mpg for us, this is overall a great vehicle. We've had no problems. We've received many compliments on this vehicle. It sure kept us warm this extra cold winter! (too bad back seat passengers don't get the warmed seats) Pickup is fantastic Fendall stereo is really nice. The regenerating hybrid is a marvel...we don't have to plug this one in to any electrical charger! Everyone loves the premium tire rims w/ fan-like design. We currently lease this vehicle, however we currently believe we will buy this one out & keep this one!"

8 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Great car -poor build quality

By on Thursday, April 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Beautiful, fast, great mileage"

Cons: "Poor build quality, lame sound system"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"Love my SportWagen. Disappointed in the build quality - rattles, vibrations, loose components (heat shield, defective sunroof, the list goes on. Have owned the vehicle seven months and have been to the dealer ten times to fix stupid and annoying problems. My last VW, a 1996 Jetta GL was perfect right out of the box, was mine for eight years, never a rattle, squeak - just regular maintenance. I have spoken with other SportWagen owners, and they echo my disappointment in the quality. On the plus side, the SportWagen is a real head turner (Toffee Brown), comfortable, great diesel mileage. Only wish the Fender sound system had been available. Hoping Volkswagen addresses their quality issues. Love this car, but it will be my last VW product."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Perfect car, with a few minor caveats

By on Monday, March 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fuel economy, handling, comfort, fun to drive"

Cons: "HWY road noise, Nav system, needs better lumbar"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Love this car's design, economy, torque, and comfort. We have TDI model with all possible options. Only downsides to this car, in my opinion: Navigation system is non-user friendly, and HORRIBLE. Less intuitive than my 7 year old Garmin portable GPS. I would rate Nav system a 3 out of 10. I will replace the Nav with an aftermarket double DIN GPS in the future. Pano sunroof is awesome, but contributes to road noise. 17 inch VW premium wheels/OEM Continental tires contribute to road noise too. Even with our new aftermarket thicker side walled tires, still pretty noisy on most highways. Less highway road noise would be appreciated. Wish front seats had adjustable lumbar support."

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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